Forced shift to distance learning as an impetus to technological changes in the Russian higher education
The objective request for the compliance of all spheres of life with the requirements of the information society has accelerated processes determined by the restrictive measures of the covid-19 pandemic. Almost all sectors of the economy were forced to switch to remote working; however, the education system was the most affected. The mass transition to distance learning revealed a number of challenges and contradictions in distant forms of the higher education programs and made the Russian education system respond to the challenges of the digital society. This required a deep analysis of various aspects of distance learning, readiness of all education actors to work remotely, availability of material-technical facilities, methodological support and software, and also an assessment of prospects and scenarios for the development of the Russian education system after the pandemic. In May 2020, the Center for Education Development Strategy at Lomonosov Moscow State University and the RUDN Department of Sociology, with the support of the Russian Professors Assembly, conducted a survey of the academic personnel to study universities' transition to distance learning. The survey data reveled the real situation in the education system, features of the forced transition to remote working and challenges of such an educational format, and allowed to reconstruct a 'portrait' of the teacher most skeptical to distance learning. The study helped to make a number of recommendations on improving forms and methods of learning and on developing education technologies in universities; to identify the main risks of distance education and to suggest possible forms of mixed learning in Russian universities.